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Integrating with the Salesforce Service Cloud

Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan, and today I have Matthew Chestnut here with me. Matthew, thank you for joining me.

 

Matthew:I’m back again.

 

Danny:It must be another quarter.

 

Matthew:Yes.

 

Danny:It’s another quarter. No blog post, but you want to come in here and spend some special time with the one that you love, right?

 

Matthew:I’m guaranteed to speak with you at least four times a year.

 

Danny:I appreciate you taking the time to do this. I think for today I wanted just to get, and this may be a combination of both technology and process and just getting up-to-date with what you’ve been working on the last couple of months. Do you mind just going through at a high level telling me more about this? I know it’s a large multi-country, multibillion-dollar information services company that you’re working with. Can you give me a little bit of a background on what you’re doing with that company?

 

Matthew:Certainly. We’ve been working with this project for approximately nine months, I’m guessing.

 

Danny:Okay.

 

Matthew:It’s gotten very exciting. We have rolled out the basic, or I should say updated, support site worldwide, and that’s went really well. Now, we’re starting on a new piece of the deployment where the support cases are being migrated from a legacy in-house system to a Salesforce Service Cloud implementation. What’s interesting about that is because the company wants to manage all these customers, they’ve got a variety of customers and a variety of products, variety of geographic locations, and a variety of call centers that support these customers, they wanted to do a managed roll-out, if you you will.

 

Danny:Okay.

 

Matthew:That really fit in very nicely with Agile. Here at ThreeWill, we follow an Agile methodology for the work that we do where we breakdown the various backlog items, the use cases, the information that the customer wants, we break those into stories. This is a story on a bigger macroscale, if you will, where the story is let’s roll out this information, this customer support site to this particular geographic region now, and then in a few weeks or a few months we’ll do the next set of companies, products, what have you.

 

Where we’re at now is we’ve got this Service Cloud implementation, it’s a Salesforce Service Cloud is their case management piece, and it’s being rolled out globally for their internal people, but they also want to be able to pick up some of these external customers. Their customers want to be able to create support tickets like they’ve always done. Behind the scenes, we’re providing a user interface that to the external user it looks no different than what they’re used to seeing, but internally that’s where all the magic happens.

 

What we’ve got going on is we’ve got a group of customers based on how they’re identified, how their user profile on the website is configured, and they end up going into Service Cloud so that the call center people can look at the data directly through their Salesforce Service Cloud log ins. There’s also another group of people inside of the company, typically the sales group, who want to check the pulse of a customer before they call on them or find out what’s going on. They need visibility into these tickets as well.

 

Danny:How good is this meeting going to go?

 

Matthew:Yeah, they want to know.

 

Danny:Yes, yes. Understand.

 

Matthew:They don’t want to get sidetracked or …

 

Danny:Sideswiped.

 

Matthew:Surprised. Exactly.

 

There is URLs that they were adding to their instances of Salesforce, because once again being a global information services company they have a variety of instances of Salesforce. One nice thing about Salesforce, you don’t have to do it one big bang, you can do it into groups as well. What the sales group would do is they would click on a link, it would open up a window in their browser, and it would show them all the open support cases or support cases for the last X number of days. The whole thing is they want to be able to give their customers access to support just like they always have, but they want it in the new modern technology, Salesforce Service Cloud, and they want to move away from the legacy support system for a certain class of users.

 

Some other technology things that we’re dealing with is, Salesforce has a variety of ways to interface, we are interfacing with some enterprise services, some web communication foundation, WCF Web Services, that are being hosted in IBMs enterprise service bus.

 

Danny:Okay.

 

Matthew:Another group is providing that API, and what we did as the website developers is we took the existing webpages and we basically modified the direct cause to a database to use these enterprise service bus web services where appropriate. Based on the routing, we call it routing, which service do we go to, do we go to the new, or do we go to the old. Based on certain criteria, we are able to route the tickets to Salesforce Service Cloud through this new SB, or we go to the legacy system. It’s seamless to the end user.

 

Danny:Nice, nice. I think what’s interesting about this project is that, yes, we’re doing things with Salesforce, but I don’t know since the get-go whether we’ve been doing that or not, but the site itself we’re not using SharePoint, we’re using ASP.net. Is that correct?

 

Matthew:That’s correct.

 

Danny:Okay. We’re leaning back on our original days of learning a lot about ASP. It sounds like there’s a lot of things that are a part of this site that lend itself to things that we’ve done before in SharePoint, like workflows and maybe stuff like that. How is our background in SharePoint helped us with this project?

 

Matthew:SharePoint in some ways of looking at it is a database. You have lists and you have views, and those are very database-centric is how we look at them. What we’re dealing with here now in this particular website are database tables and database views, so all of our SharePoint expertise, even in the modern technologies that we’re doing with Angular, etc., talking with SharePoint 2013 and beyond, those lend themselves directly to it. It’s actually nice because we as SharePoint developers understand the SharePoint object model. We know how to get data out of a list. We certainly understand the Sequel Server and Oracle and all these other databases that we’re using currently. We know how to get data out of a list. Once again, in this new project we’re doing for this particular customer, we’re using web service calls. In a lot of ways, that’s how SharePoint works, in some of their remote access to SharePoint is done through services. It really lends itself very well.

 

Danny:Has anything come up yet with regards to customers being able to do this through a mobile device or anything along those lines at all?

 

Matthew:Some of the pieces of this website are done in a responsive manner where depending on the viewport, the size of the device, the user interface changes, but only certain parts. We are expanding that. It’s interesting, when we talk to the customer about that and ask our customer about their customers and their user profiles, etc. and what kind of person uses this, they said tablet viewing is a maybe, but phone not really. The type of customers they’re dealing with are business professionals that aren’t really doing stuff mobile-centric, this is data-driven so that it is really more important for them to see it on a browser screen as opposed to a mobile device.

 

Danny:The things that they’re typically doing on the website are things that they’re doing at a desk?

 

Matthew:Yeah, it’s accounting things in some regards.

 

Danny:Yeah. Okay.

 

Matthew:It’s show me my invoices, show me the orders that I have. It’s the kind of stuff you do at work and you don’t want to take this work home with you, so why put it on your phone.

 

Danny:Trust me, I do not want to be able to access this from my phone.

 

Matthew:Yes.

 

Danny:Interesting.

 

Anything else? You were talking about Angular. Are there any of the JavaScript frameworks that you’re using on this project at all or new things that you’re branching out to that you’re introducing into the project?

 

Matthew:It’s not so much that we’re introducing, we’re sharing some of the same technologies that we are doing with our work in SharePoint 2013 and beyond.

 

Danny:Okay.

 

Matthew:Things like React and Bootstrap and Angular. There’re certainly aspects of that that we’re using because we realize, and as everyone knows, the JavaScript world is the thing and various frameworks help with JavaScript, so we’re just leveraging some of those same techniques that we’ve done in our SharePoint work with this. It’s easier in some regards because we are dealing with the database-type things, but it’s only easy in the sense that the data model is set up. SharePoint, out of the box, gives you all of this stuff for this work we’re doing to access Oracle data and Sequel Server data. We are using some standard patterns and practices for that and those had to be configured, whereas with SharePoint they’re just available. It was interesting in that regard. We realize that in some situations SharePoint really jumpstarts you because you don’t have to worry about all this infrastructure, it just works out of the box. We’re taking a step back in some regards, but it does make it easy to deploy. SharePoint, we understand how to deploy. In this world, it’s very similar because it’s all deployed the same way.

 

Danny:The site is live now, is that correct?

 

Matthew:Yeah, we went live a couple of weeks ago.

 

Danny:Okay.

 

Matthew:It was a very quiet roll-out in the sense that there were no …

 

Danny:I like those.

 

Matthew:… no big outages. This is quite a complex system. There’s a number of connections from this software to other pieces within the organization. We had a number of groups working on this, whether it’s in the IT infrastructure, the website support groups worldwide contributing. I would probably guess we had five critical groups all had to come together to make certain that this roll-out worked effectively and correctly. Having the environments with virtual machines internally to do testing, not only development testing but QA, user-acceptance testing, etc., all those pieces that we’re used to doing was made easier because they had the infrastructure in place, and then therefore when we rolled to production it was a nonevent, it just worked.

 

Danny:Anything you’re looking forward to over the next couple of months on the project?

 

Matthew:We’re definitely looking forward to this next roll-out, which would be the first official roll-out of the support site talking to Service Cloud. Once we get done with that, we have some more knowledge stuff that we’re going to do inside of Service Cloud as well as some custom work that we’re doing with the existing infrastructure. Really, we have to be very aware of where we are and what we’re trying to do because there’s a variety of connections, there’s a variety of data, we just need to keep track of it. How we do that? We do it with our daily stand-ups, we do it with our issues lists, we do it with the standard stuff regardless of the type of project we’re working on, we do it with tools to help us keep on track.

 

Danny:In two-week sprints? Is that what you guys have?

 

Matthew:Yeah, two-week sprints, which is a good rhythm for us. Two weeks, we get with the business owners, we get to do a demonstration, we show them our progress. Obviously, we do the stand-ups daily to keep everyone apprised who wants and needs to know, but every two weeks we go in front of our product owner and make them happy.

 

Danny:You’ve been working a lot with Tim on this project.

 

Matthew:Our Tim? Oh, absolutely. Tim and I have been working very closely together. We give Tim a hard time, but he’s doing a great job with the pieces he’s doing. He’s very conscientious.

 

Danny:Yes. Good.

 

Matthew:He’s very aware of what the customer wants and needs, and of course he loves to talk, so he never minds calling somebody to talk to them for hours at a time for something that would take me perhaps 10 minutes. He just loves to talk.

 

Danny:That’s great. Yeah, it’s going to be fun working with Tim. That’s great to hear.

 

Thank you for taking the time off of your project to do this. What, I’ll see you in three months? Is that case?

 

Matthew:I have a feeling we may run into each other sooner than that.

 

Danny:Matthew and I work side by side. We’re across a wall from each other, so we see each other quite often. I appreciate getting to spend this time with you, Matthew. I appreciate the update on the project. Sounds like you’re doing wonderful stuff. Thank you so much.

 

Matthew:Yeah, we’re excited about it. We’re making this customer happy. It’s interesting, this started out as a 90-day let’s get the website rebranded, and it’s just grown from there. I think it just shows the trust that our customers have in us and we like to maintain that trust.

 

Danny:That’s awesome. Thank you so much.

 

Thank you everybody for listening. Please drop by Threewill.com, and have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye-bye.

 

Danny RyanIntegrating with the Salesforce Service Cloud

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